PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) confirmed a second COVID-19 death of a child in our area this week.
Larry Hill with VDH confirmed Thursday that a child younger than 10 years old died in the Eastern Health Region.
Hill said he couldn’t share additional details for privacy reasons and respect for the family, but said the new death was posted on VDH’s website on Wednesday, Sept. 29.
The news comes after the death of a Suffolk 10-year-old this week at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk. Teresa Sperry was a fifth grader at Hillpoint Elementary who died days after developing a headache.
There are still some unknowns in the other case. We don’t know the child’s exact age, or have confirmed the city where the death was reported. That said, the Virginia Department of Health website shows a new death in the “under 10” age group was reported in Virginia Beach.
10 On Your Side called Virginia Beach City Public Schools and officials confirmed the death was not one of their students.
VDH has now reported 13 COVID-19 deaths in people 19 and younger. Children under the age of 12 are currently ineligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. However, approval for children 5 and up for the vaccine could come in November, Pfizer announced.
In recent weeks, health officials say emergency room visits for children younger than 10 have increased significantly.
Because of this, officials say it’s sad but not surprising there have been two deaths of children under 10 in the eastern region just this week.
“It’s not surprising at all that we’ve come to this point,” said Dr. Nancy Welch, the director of the Chesapeake Health Department. “We anticipated this.”
Dr. Welch said these deaths are an important reminder to take mitigation efforts seriously in order to protect those who cannot yet protect themselves.
“It really, for me, is a reminder of the role that we as adults play, because they’ve got to get it from somebody,” explained Welch “And we’re not just talking about family. We’re a community here. So we’re talking about all adults.”